I’ve been doing a ton of author visits in the last few weeks. From doing a motivational talk for a Genius Hour project at Hobby Middle School (plus a silly, fun writing workshop)…
… to a Halloween Day presentation that scared the pants off the older kids at Boone Elementary…
… to speaking with an incredible group of young women leaders at the Ann Richards School …
WHO FED ME ICE CREAM!!! (This needs to become a thing.)
… to presenting for the Austin Public Library to kick off NaNoWriMo (Do NOT ask me how my NaNo word count is coming. Just don’t), quickly followed by the Texas Book Festival where I moderated a super fun panel for mega star authors Jennifer Ziegler, Victoria Jamieson, and Karina Yan Glaser…
I’ve been busy and happy and running from one thing to the next. It’s been author bliss, except for how little time it leaves for the Real Job (writing novels).
I learn something new every time I do an author visit, no matter what age the students, or what talk I give. This week, I had a question from a student about how long I’ve worked on a single novel. I had a sudden realization that I’ve been working on some of my novels my whole life! From the time I was in elementary school staring out a window and thinking, to the short stories I cranked out at UT Austin during my dark graduate school years, to now. The manuscript I’ve just finished (okay, revision is almost done! See pics above) is a story that’s been fighting to find its form, to be told, for over thirty years.
That’s a long time.
And when I spoke that answer out loud, I realized I have other stories that similarly have been hanging on in my mind and on my laptop. I “finished” a manuscript last year that was once a picture book, and then a novel. I thought it was ready to go… and now I know that it was too heavy/unwieldy for middle grade, too full of the things that YA novels do best. And so, you know what? I’m going to try YA.
This makes me tremble with fear and exhaustion… but you know what they say: NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER SURRENDER.
I think that’s the thing I get most from author visits: the exposure to young writers and readers who spark a fearless drive in me through their own energy and spark.
Well, that and laughter and ice cream.
Happy Writing, friends! And if YOU want to come to a writing workshop with me soon, try this one:
NaNoWriMo Workshop: Character Development
Wednesday, November 15 / 6:00-7:30 pm
New Central Library
Interesting, complex characters form the core of any great novel, but creating “fleshed out” imaginary people is no easy task. Join author Nikki Loftin for a discussion of character, including tips on better understanding the fictional people who populate your story.
All workshops are free and open to the public. No reservations needed.